This is the conversation I imagine I might have heard (or something close to it) if I were a fly on the wall when Donald Trump had a meeting early this week with his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski:
CL: Donald, I don’t see any benefit to you to attend the January 28th debate. You are already ahead in the polls. You can’t really increase your position by doing well in the debate, but you can hurt your position if you make a flub, or get asked a question that might be embarrassing.
DT: No problem! I can handle anything that is thrown at me. My followers love me and are loyal to me. I won’t lose any of them, and one more TV appearance will gain some more supporters. I know how to act when I am in front of the cameras to bring attention to me and to make those frustrated and disgruntled voters love me more.
CL: Donald, you are good in front of the cameras and you can dominate this debate as you have every prior debate. I know you can “own” the debate. Here is my concern. The Iowa Caucuses will be just two days away. It looks like you might have a solid 30% of voters in Iowa, but 46% of Iowa voters are still undecided. Up until now they have a good impression of you. They think you are strong – an alpha male, the press calls you. They believe that you are the one who can stand up to the establishment and bring positive change to Washington. If you go on that stage on Thursday and say something that will alienate some voters, you might lose some of the undecideds who are leaning toward you, and you could even lose some of your supporters.
DT: Corey, as I said the other day, I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters. My voters are loyal and nothing I could do or say will make them change their minds.
CL: Donald, Ted Cruz is very smart. He is liable to bring up some of your prior political positions which were more like positions of Hillary, or even Bernie, rather than conservative positions. He could hit you hard on your eminent domain positions. As you know, you have advocated for governments to have the right to seize private property under eminent domain and resell those properties to private developers. But the Constitution says that private property can only be taken for “public” purposes, and with “just compensation” to the property owner. You and I know that you have personally benefited from government exercise of the eminent domain, and you might be vulnerable if instances of that were brought up.
DT: Corey, you worry too much. The public doesn’t care about these kinds of legal technicalities. My supporters see me as the guy who will stand up for them, and that is all that really matters to them.
CL: I am very concerned about some of the statements you have made in the past that opponents like Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio could bring up in the debate. They will say that you are not for limited government, but for expansion of government. That is a position that will turn off a lot of conservatives. Your opponents know that you supported the stimulus, that expenditure by the Federal government of nearly one billion dollars, that went mostly to Obama’s cronies, and didn’t really stimulate anything. And then there is the mass deportation you have been advocating. You want to uproot people who have settled in the U.S. and have been raising families, living peacefully and trying to make a life for themselves. It is one thing to say that they shouldn’t have a path to citizenship, or that if they do, the path should not be an easy one. It is another to say that we are going to round them up, put them on buses and deport them. Deport them to where? Donald, what if someone brings up the fact that to deport 12 million illegal aliens over a two year period would mean having to deport 16,500 people a day, each and every day.
DT: Okay Corey, I am getting the gist of what you are saying. I suppose they could bring up that I said the government can take over private companies, and frankly, take big chunks of companies. I know some of those conservatives will not like that. So how do I just not show up for the debate? It will look bad.
CL: Donald, I have the perfect solution. Remember at the first debate you said you wouldn’t attend a debate if Megyn Kelly was going to be a moderator. So here is the perfect solution. Megyn Kelly is going to be a moderator at the debate on Thursday. You have a perfect out. Just put an ultimatum to Fox News. Tell them you won’t appear at the debate unless Megyn Kelly is removed as moderator. We know the likelihood of their removing her as a moderator is very low. They will show loyalty to their employees and stand up for her. That will give you the perfect opportunity to say that you won’t attend the debate.
DT: Brilliant, Corey. And, to distract attention from the debate, and to give my supporters an alternative so they don’t have to watch the debate without my being there, let’s do some event at the same time. I know. Lets do a tribute to veterans. We can always get a big crowd when we support veterans. This will be huge. We can kill the ratings of the debate by doing our own veterans event. Perfect.
CL: Oh, and one more thing. Ted Cruz is asking you to go on a one-on-one debate with him, without moderators. You absolutely cannot do that. Cruz is a master debater and he is liable to make you look bad. He won’t hesitate to bring up your background, your prior positions and will characterize you as a liberal rather than a constitutional conservative. Do not, under any circumstances, get into a one-on-one debate with Cruz.
DT: Okay. Looks like we have a plan.
(Well that may have not been the exact conversation, but it is my belief that some type of similar conversation must have taken place. ~GA)